Feb 272005
Authors: Amanda Grace Havekost

The Rams' track competition facility has improvements on the horizon.

After returning from the indoor Mountain West Conference Championships this weekend, the track and field program is looking to equip facilities at CSU to better host the outdoor MWC championships in Fort Collins.

The additions include improvements to the outdoor competition field following fundraising and some organization. Head coach Del Hessel said there are plans to add new stands, a press box and a timing system before the MWC Championships in May.

Hessel said the track field stands have not been replaced since 1970, and the new stands will have the ability to seat 1,000 fans.

"You would think that things would improve over a 30-some-year period," Hessel said. "Having stands will be very important to us."

Fundraising efforts are in full swing to raise money to fund the additions, and Hessel said phone calls to track and field alumni from 1950-2004 are the driving force behind funding for the improvements. Letters were sent out last week in an effort to raise additional funds.

"We'll see if we can make it happen," Hessel said.

Senior Loree Smith, a nationally ranked thrower, had an instant smile on her face the moment improvements were mentioned.

"It's about time our facilities reflected our team," Smith said. "Even the small things make a difference."

Junior jumper Amanda Huddleston sees the benefits that come with the changes to the field and hopes it will boost in attendance.

"I think it'll be nice to have better stands," Huddleston said. "This way, it will be an opportunity for more people to come."

Senior jumper Jacob Benson is another athlete looking forward to hosting the MWC outdoor championships with the new perks and was glad when some improvements were made to the indoor practice facility earlier this season. Not only will the track be updated, but the throwing hold (the area where the athletes throw from) as well.

"I was really excited once we got our new track and throwing hold in," Benson said. "We're going to get to host conference this outdoor season and I'm excited about all the improvements."

Hessel is confident the improvements and additions to the facilities will be completed in time.

"We will be seeing some stands and a press box by springtime," Hessel said.

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